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It's been a big year for New York City retail (and not just because Racked was born in March). This week, we'll relive the glorious highlights and gruesome lowlights. We'll be recapping, among other things, the most notable closings, biggest openings, lamest openings and the most important retail stretches the city has to offer. So, let's begin.
Photo via Flickr/Rollerboogie
The city said adios to a startling number of institutions this year. Below, the five most tearful goodbyes.
5) Gotham Book Mart: It's always heart-rending to see a bookstore go (even Barnes & Noble shutterings cut to the quick), but the case of Midtown's Gotham Book Mart was especially tragic. Due to a debt owed to his landlord, the store's owner was forced to auction off the store's wares. All would-be buyers were out-bid by the place's landlord, who swooped in and snapped it all up. A real shame.
4) Fontana Shoe Repair: The charmingly grubby storefront of 45-year-old A. Fontana Shoe Repair isn't shuttered yet, but it will be in a few months. Just another casualty in a city where's it's becoming increasingly hard to find a good place to get your shoes re-heeled. Rent hikes are to blame for this one.
3) Condomania: Condom, lube and sex toy emporium Condomania bit the dust in April, another victim of skyrocketing rents. Cruelly, the storefront is now home to the blandest of the bland: a Sunglass Hut. Bleaker Street indeed.
2) Kurowycky Meat Products: Longtime customers were shocked when 52-year-old Ukrainian East Village kovbasa, bologna, ham and bacon purveyor Kurowycky shut down in June. The shop's owner cited the general downturn in meat eating as the factor that ultimately did them in.
1) Gertel's Bakery: Rumored for months, perhaps years, the closure of LES fixture Gertel's Bakery nevertheless shook the community. The 93-year-old store sold its last rugelach, challa and hamentaschen June 22nd. The company's wholesale operations moved to Williamsburg soon after; the Hester Street storefront has since been demolished to make room for luxury condos.
Honorable mention goes to the closures of West Village kid's shop Peanutbutter & Jane, Italian grocery Dom's Fine Foods, Bombay Companys nationwide, Girlshop's e-commerce site and MePa outpost, the Astor Place Barnes & Noble, The Funny Store in Times Square and the impending shuttering of Streit's Matzo on the LES.